The format change in the Golden Ball award opens the door to a reward for Karim Benzema, author of the best season of his career and favorite for dedication after his new masterful performance at Chelsea-Real, which follows many others.
Lionel Messi celebrates his seventh Ballon d’Or in just four months, but the name of his potential successor is already stealing the show. As football is driven by the emotions and culture of the moment, Karim Benzema is propelled this Thursday as the new favorite for the highest individual award. In addition to not being a flash in the pan, the Real striker excels over time. Better, it “improves like fine wine,” according to Carlo Ancelotti. At the age of 34, the French international is having the best season of his career. The numbers confirm it as he had never scored such a number of goals in a season. He has 37 in 36 games in a season that is far from over.
Benzema wants it, Ferdinand and the fans promise it
Fourth in 2021, Benzema is not hiding his goal of reaching the holy grail. “It’s a goal,” the French international admitted in an interview with The team† Especially because I wasn’t far away last year, but hadn’t won a trophy (in club). I have a very good season there. The Ballon d’Or is motivational, but not just personal. I involve the team. Because if I manage to lead my team to trophies, there will inevitably be individual prizes behind it.”
The format change when awarding the Golden Ball could help him in his quest. From now on, the winner will be chosen over a season, and no longer over a calendar year. Benzema clearly has something to play for as Real top La Liga 12 points ahead of second-placed Barca (who have one game less) and look set to reach the semi-finals of the League champions. This puts him ahead of compatriot Kylian Mbappe, stratospheric at PSG but knocked out in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The competition is getting tough with Robert Lewandowski, very disappointed with the final vote and an impressive scoring machine (45 goals in 39 games).
But the Frenchman presents something more: to imagine a kind of romance in his way of playing football, from picking up to building actions. The next Ballon d’Or will not take into account the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which is scheduled for November-December. So there are still two months of competition to make the difference. A new crowning of Real in the Champions League would roll out the red carpet for him. Otherwise, the club will use its lobbying art to cover its players with gold. The program El Chiringuito launched a consultation on Twitter on Wednesday evening and the result is clear: Benzema collected 80% of the 55,000 votes as the player who most deserved the Golden Ball, far ahead of Robert Lewandowski (9%), Kylian Mbappé (7.4 %) and Mohamed Salah (3.4%).
“He’s the best number 9 on the planet for me,” Rio Ferdinand, former Manchester United defender now an advisor to BT Sport launched. We can talk about Lewandowski, a great player. Harry Kane returned to this form we all knew , great player. This guy (Benzema) is on a different level right now. He is phenomenal, he influences the game in so many different areas, not just goals, assists, game links and delay in the game. He looks like a playmaker, But he’s a number 9 who has scored 37 goals.”
“Karim Benzema, if they don’t engrave his name on the Ballon d’Or by the end of the season, I’d be surprised. He was magical, magnificent with a hat-trick against PSG and another against Chelsea. This man makes the difference. “